Are you stressed?

February 27, 2014

Two out of three Swiss are stressed at work, according to a recent study.  This might surprise many given the tranquillity one finds in this beautiful country with snow-capped mountains, lush green plains, and beautiful lakes. It is a sheer coincidence that as I was pondering over this question I came across the following anecdote:IMG_2355

A professor was invited by a bank to speak to its employees on time management. The professor arrived with a large glass jar and a few things in his bag. He picked up the empty jar and began to fill it with some large stones.   After he had filled the jar with large stones, he asked the employees if the jar was full. Several employees said ‘no’.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and started pouring them in the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the large stones. He asked again, if the jar was full. Some employees now said ‘yes’ while some hesitated to answer.

The professor then took out a sac of sand and poured sand into the jar. As he shook the jar, the sand found its way in between the pebbles and the large stones and filled in the available space. He asked again if the jar was full. Most of the employees said ‘yes’.  Then, the professor picked up a bottle of water and poured water into the jar. All were surprised to note that water was also able to find its place into the jar. All agreed that the jar was now ‘full’.

The professor asked, what lesson do you get out of this? A young man replied, “No matter how full your agenda is, you can still accommodate several other tasks”. “No, that is not the point,” said the professor holding a large stone in his hand, “If I had not put the large stones first, I would not have been able to put them later as there would be no space left for them. The large stones are the important things in our life, and we should do them first.”

Most of the time in our life, we tend to do just the opposite. We spend our time and energy on the lesser important things, and the important ones such as family matters and health remain pending. The end result is anxiety, lack of contentment and stress. Let’s remember to take care of important things.

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